SEATTLE -

The quick thinking of a U.S. Army staff sergeant likely helped prevent a fire inside a Seattle night club from becoming a tragedy during New Year's Eve celebrations.

Seattle police say 750 were people celebrating in the club Neighbours when an arsonist poured gasoline on a carpeted stairway and set it ablaze.

KIRO-TV reports that in the first seconds after the fire started, Staff Sgt. Christopher Bostick grabbed a fire extinguisher from behind the bar. Then he and Air Force member Mike Casey put out the fire.

Bostick, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, expects the fire would have become unmanageable in less than a minute.

While the nightclub's sprinkler system rained water down, hundreds of people calmly--but quickly--left the nightclub. No one was hurt.

Detectives are investigating.